Yes. It would be nice to have a story to finish this one.
Story was unsatisfying. I enjoy the Mote universe, but this was nothing near as good as the first book. This was mostly a story of narration, the characters monologging about what was happening instead of actual events occurring. Ending was unsatisfying, little plot, and almost no intrigue.
I did enjoy Ganser's reading, however; this was my first book with this narrator and I look forward to hearing him again.
A follow on to The Mote in God's Eye. The Mote was a great book. This book, I presume, was meant to draw readers of the Mote. Uf you are interested in monet power empire and space shoot 'em ups, this book is for you. Better yet, read The Fall of the Roman Empire. Fewer scientific errors. No compelling characters here, just interspecies politics and fantasy ship to ship space battles.
Simply put, if you read and like The Mote in God's Eye, you'll want to read this. If you haven't read Mote in God's Eye, you need to read that first. This is a fair follow-on to the original story, not as original (it would be difficult to be), but a good what-would-come-next type of story.
My only. Complaint. Is that the writing style... is more fragmented, than that of Mote. Clearly one author had a larger part in the first book, and the other this one. I preferred the style of Mote, as this one had a lot of choppy scenes and sentence, enough to become mildly distracting. But the quality of the story is excellent enough and does more than compensate for that weakness.
Narrator seriously needs to work on emphasis in the phrasing of sentences. Quite obvious mistakes and they change the meaning of the script. Needs to read for understanding of the dialog.
Great story, narrator has decent character definition. Wish he understood what was being read.
I've been a fan of the Niven/Pournelle team forever. But apparently even the best have their bad turns, and The Gripping Hand is theirs. It's probably okay if you're still under the thrall of The Mote, so you don't notice how bad this one is. Otherwise though, this book does NOT stand alone as anything worth reading. Sorry, but that's just how it is.
The story is a bit slow and seems especially drawn out at the end. The characters are not particularly well developed except for the main 2 or 3. Several of the situations that caused major plot events seemed implausible. If you liked, The Mote in God's Eye, this one falls well short of the mark set by the classic.
I generally enjoy Niven/Pournelle books (Niven more so) ... but this one was rather uninspired. Nothing new was introduced, the characters weren't so interesting, there was no internal conflicts ... just recycled stuff to get the page count up so they could get paid.
A driver that likes to listen to books instead of the radio.
It is fun to listen to science fiction of the past compared to the technology of today.
A strong story with compelling characters and dialogue.
Spent more time on development of good characters and less time dragging out boring conversations irrelevant to the core story arc.
Voices for characters were not unique enough - often I lost track of who was talking, especially in three-way conversations. I can't imagine that these conversations would be unambiguous in text without "said x", "x responded", etc, conversation structure crutches, so I assume that they intentionally removed them for the audio presentation - which would have been great if the narrator could keep the voices consistent and distinctive.
The universe was neat. The Moties are still a very cool idea for an alien civilization. The elevator pitch for this book's core story arc is awesome, it's just the characters and dialogue and pacing draped around that core arc that are terrible.
For calibration, I would give Mote in God's Eye four stars. I've liked other work by these authors; just not this book.